Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 6: Olds, AB

We made it! Through some rainy weather and ... welcome to Alberta ... a spring snow storm today (yes, only a few second thoughts about the weather in Alberta vs. Ontario)!

It was clear and calm when we got to Olds though which was a blessing as we unloaded our car-top carrier and emptied our van! Now the unpacking and settling in begins. Thank you everyone for your prayers. I'll continue to blog this summer about our continuing adventures, God's provisions and my scrapbooking creations.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Scrapbook layout – First Steps

It was fun to remember when Jeremy was first learning to walk. Although, he didn't really want to walk – he wanted to run! Right from the beginning he has been an intense boy who wants to do more than he is capable of and keep up with Nathan and Noelle.

I used Typeset paper and the coordinating canvas stickease. I was even able to write my journaling on the canvas journaling sticker with a black pen.

I love the look and feel of CTMH's new canvas stickers – it is easy to see the texture yet they add very little bulk to my pages – a new goal of mine as I am trying to put one whole year of layouts into one album. After three albums for 2008 I decided I needed to take action or we'd be swimming in scrapbooks by the time the kids graduated! Digital pages, less bulky pages and trying to not scrapbook all the events of the year have been my strategies to have fewer albums.

All supplies are Close To My Heart other than the “First steps” rub-on title and footprints.

Day 5: Swift Current, SK

A rainy day of driving today! On our 6 1/2 hour drive we had an uneventful border crossing, we turned our watches back one hour for the last time and we stopped in Moose Jaw for a tour of the tunnels!

 If you haven't heard that Moose Jaw was once known as "Little Chicago" because of it's connections to Al Capone and the illegal activity that went on in Moose Jaw in the 20s check out the "Chicago Connection" tour the next time you are heading through Moose Jaw! (I know it doesn't happen often but Moose Jaw is a great place to stop in and sightsee.) There is also a tour called "Passage to Fortune" about Chinese immigrants and how they used the tunnels. This tour is now on our "to do next time" list :)

We couldn't take any pictures on our tour but we learned a lot about Al Capone! Although trying to explain it all to Jeremy became a little difficult. We got right into it - Nathan became an assistant "goon" and Daniel got to play cards with the head "goon" during the interactive drama.

Also, I forgot to post this picture yesterday and mention that after supper we went swimming at our hotel pool that had 3 big waterslides! Daniel had found the hotel and booked it before we left – and while after the Kalahari resort it seemed small it was a fun way to spend an hour burning off excess energy. It might not look like it from the picture, but the slides were wild! We aren't sure who designed them but all three were fast and sent us flipping up the sides. The slides at the Kalahari did feel a little safer than these three!

Tomorrow we enter Alberta and will at our "summer home" by supper time!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 4: Minot, ND

Today was our first long day of driving in one stretch - 7.5 hours. We made a few stops for gas, bathroom breaks and a picnic lunch at the Fargo – Moorhead Visitor's Center...and arrived in Minot around 5:30 pm.

A very colourful bison outside of the Visitor's Center!

We're over half-way through listening to “The Secret Garden” and really enjoying it. The kids are also busy reading books, colouring, listening to music, looking at the changing landscape and playing with stuffed animals (two of them anyways!). A few rough patches each day but overall they've been great travellers.

We've decided that North Dakota reminds us a lot of Alberta gas, very little tax, fast speed limits (120 km/h on the I-94) and lots of wide open spaces!

Janis, the picture below is for you! We saw these treats at the Kalahari Resort yesterday but didn't give in to the temptation – maybe you'll have to try and make these :)

Two more days of travelling and we'll be at the farm in Olds - our home for the summer!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 3: St. Cloud, MN

We had a great day! We splashed and slid at the waterpark for almost 4 hours before driving another 4 1/2 hours to St. Cloud for the night. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Kalahari Resort – we were blessed to be able to take advantage of their “Choose Your Own Adventure” deal (offered on only certain weekdays) where we got a free room upgrade to a “Royal Suite” - two queen beds, 1 king bed, 2 bathrooms, three Tvs – supper coupon for $40, and free breakfast for 4! 
This is a view of the "living room" between the two bedrooms.

We were truly spoiled. God continues to bless us abundantly on our trip.

The kids were pretty played out by the time we were driving again – Jeremy fell asleep and had a nap while we drove. Later, when we stopped at a rest stop, Nathan said he couldn't run – his legs were too tired. We did climb a lot of stairs! 

There were three great tube rides that we could all go on in groups of 2 or 3 – including one that was like a roller coaster. Daniel and Nathan almost chickened out when they braved the new "Sahara Sidewinders." They had to stand in a glass box and on the count of three the bottom was opened and down they went! They decided that they didn't need to go again though :)  
Sahara Sidewinders

Daniel and I both enjoyed the “toliet bowl” slide which we've never tried before. There was also a great lazy river that we went on a few times as a family on tubes. A another plus - all the rides were open but there were no line-ups! It was great to go off-season.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 2 – Wisconsin Dells, WI

We were on the road by 10 am this morning for a planned stop at a Chicago deep-dish pizzeria that Daniel had researched before we left! We had a great meal at Lou Malnarti's  - their classic deep dish pizza with a buttery crust, sausage, fresh tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms. And check this out - they deliver to Canada! You might have to order a couple days in advance and it comes frozen but it would be very yummy and fun :) Our waitress was Vicki who has been working at Lou's for 41 years! When she heard this was our first time at Lou's and we were driving to Alberta she gave us a free dessert - their signature freshly baked chocolate chip cookie with icecream and whip cream! It's a good thing we don't eat this well all year. 

We arrived at the Kalahari Waterpark resort by 5 pm after a 30 minute highway delay because of an accident and paying 8 times for toll roads. After checking into our suite (a free room upgrade!) we headed straight for the waterpark. No pictures yet but I'll post some tomorrow of our room and the waterpark. We spent a good hour riding the waves and sliding and we will go back tomorrow for a couple more hours before driving again. The kids were pretty tired and will sleep well tonight!

Thank you for everyone's prayers and thoughts - it's great to know that our family and friends are praying for us. 

Day 1: Kalamazoo, MI

After a day of driving through rain and a great visit with friends in Windsor, ON we stayed the night in Kalamazoo with Daniel's sister's parents-in-law. They are a wonderful pastoral couple whom we enjoy visiting. Noelle and Jeremy had some trouble adjusting to the idea that we were driving for “hours” - within the first hour we had heard, “I'm bored” and “When will we be there?” By the end of the day though (7 hours total) they had settled in more. We started listening to “The Secret Garden”, they played with small toys, looked at books and looked out the window. I had planned daily bags again with new (thrift store) books and small treats for every day so they were excited to open their bags for day 1.  A good start to our trip!